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CANNABIS QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q: Is cannabis harmful to health?
A: No, not pure cannabis. See The Lancet and Judge Young, The Merck Manual, LaGuardia, Wootton, Shafer, Jamaican Studies, Costa Rica Studies.

Q: Is cannabis a drug?

Q: Is cannabis poisonous? / Is there a fatal dose? A: No. It has been established that there is no conceivable toxic amount of cannabis for human beings. Medicinal substances frequently have a dosage above which death may follow after consumption. This quantity is known as the LD-50 rating - that is the dose above which 50 per cent of animals tested have dies. It has never been possible to give enough cannabis to an animal to kill it. It is estimated that the LD-50 for cannabis is around 1:20,000, which means that an average human would have to be given at least 20,000 times as much cannabis as is contained in the average joint or spliff. Based upon the dosage supplied to patients on the NIDA program in the USA, this would mean consumption of some 1500 pounds in weight of cannabis within 15 minutes to induce death. This of course is impossible and cannabis can accurately be described as non-toxic.
The figure of 20,000, sometimes quoted as 40,000, was based upon research carried out in the laboratory on mice using concentrated THC.

Q: Does cannabis intoxicate?
A: Not in the sense of losing control, which is what intoxication does. Toxins produce intoxication; cannabis is not toxic. The word "intoxicate" is semantically incorrectly applied to cannabis.

Q: Is cannabis THC?
A: Tetrahydrocannabinol is one of hundreds of cannabinoids in cannabis. THC is not cannabis, cannabis is not THC.

Q: What are the effects of cannabis?
A: We'd like to simply say 'take it and see' but that would be a crime! Cannabis relaxes alpha waves produced by the brain. The effect is usually mild, relaxing and pleasant. Any undesirable or unpleasant effects or high dosed or in the novice wears off as the cannabis wears off. It can produce giggles, increase concentration, stimulate appetite, help sleep etc. Many artists and sportsmen use cannabis. We must be careful to distinguish between the effects of pure cannabis and those of the dubious quality substances often sold on the street, which may contain drugs.

Q: Does cannabis damage the reproductive system?
A: No. This false claim was based on the work of Dr Gabriel Nahas who experimented with cells in Petri dishes. The scientific community has rejected Nahas' generalisation from the laboratory dish to human beings. Studies of humans have failed to reveal any damage. Moreover we all know plenty of people who have used cannabis for years and they all have plenty of normal, healthy children. See also Greek Studies.

Q: Does cannabis damage the immune system?
A: No. Again there is no evidence. Two studies in 1978 and one in 1988 showed that cannabis actually stimulates the immune system.

Q: Does cannabis impair short-term memory?
A: No. Some people may find themselves distracted whilst others find cannabis aids concentration and improves memory. That is why so many good musicians smoke cannabis and are able to remember complex series of notes and words.

Q: Is today's cannabis more potent than in the past?
No. It is about the same. In the past delays in analysis effected results. Potency cannot be determined by the amount of THC alone. The most potent form of cannabis that was probably that sold as 'American Cannabis' in the 1920's.

Q: What does cannabis smoke contain?
A: Over two thousand different chemicals, none of which produces harm. Compared with coffee, which contains over 800 volatile chemicals, only 21 of which have ever been tested on animals and 16 of those caused cancers in rats.

Q: How many convicted annually?
A: In 1994 there were over 72,000 convictions in the
UK. This was 83% of 'drugs' convictions. This costs hundreds of millions of pounds.

Q: How many people die as a result of cannabis use?
A: None. Ever. It is not toxic, there is no overdose.

Q: Is cannabis addictive?
A: No. It is habit-forming only in the sense that it is natural to wish to repeat a pleasant experience. There is no withdrawal. One simply returns to whatever state one was in before consumption. See LaGuardia, Shafer.. But we must remember that those people with addictive personalities can come to psychologically depend on anything, and those using cannabis to ease their suffering may depend upon it as a medicine. This does not mean that the hundreds of millions of people worldwide are cannabis addicts.

Q: Does Marijuana Use Cause Long-Term Cognitive Deficits?: Four letters in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 22 May 2002

Q: Is cannabis a 'gateway drug'?
A: No, otherwise the 5 million smokers of 1991 would be addicts of other drugs by now. The situation in
Holland has confirmed that cannabis use does not lead to drug use. In any case a huge percentage of the population takes drugs of one sort or another. The fact that a lot of heroin users previously took cannabis does not suggest that most cannabis users will ever take heroin.

Q: Do you advocate the use of cannabis?
A: We would like to be able to advocate the medicinal use of cannabis in preference to many prescribed drugs, as well as advocate the preferred use of cannabis for hard drug users. Unfortunately if we did this we would be subject to arrest for incitement.

Q: Some doctors, nurses and drug workers frequently tell us that they see people, especially young ones, who suffer from mental problems due to cannabis. Surely legalisation would increase the numbers?
A: These problems do not seem to occur in the East where cannabis has been used for centuries. Nobody would deny that a certain percentage of society suffers mental problems, understandable maybe under the pressures that western society often puts people under, and specifically applied to cannabis users under a legal system which threatens them with arrest. It is more likely that these cases are mentally nor ill people who use cannabis, rather than the case of cannabis causing the illness. We must remember of course that all of these cases apply to banned cannabis - how sure are we that it is pure cannabis that has been used, and can we be sure that no dangerous illicit drugs have been used
But the essential question is: should the law punish people who suffer mental illnesses if they consume cannabis? Should it punish those who use cannabis at all. Surely ill people need help, not fines and prison.
It also appears true that cannabis may help bring some of these problems to the surface where they can be recognised and dealt with.

Q: When was cannabis made illegal?
A: In the
UK in 1928. As a result of the mis-classification of cannabis as a narcotic.

Q: How many cannabis users in the world?
A:: An estimated 600 million - probably far too low.

Q: Is cannabis fat-soluble? Does it stay in your system?
A: Yes, for from 14 to 40 days. But this is long after any effect has worn off and it causes no harm.

Q: What are the other uses of cannabis?
A: Besides social use and medicinal use, as a fibre for paper, rope and cloth, as a building material and board for furniture, packing material, animal bedding, foodstuff, prevents land erosion, to make plastic, paints, varnish, and sealant, as a fuel, as a lubricant etc. See here.

Q: What are the penalties for cannabis?
A: For possession, ion the
UK, anything from a caution to five years with or without a fine up to 2500. For cultivation, supply, possession with intent, importation and conspiracy (including being concerned or knowingly involved with any of these offences), up to 15 years in prison with an unlimited fine and confiscation of assets. In Holland the sentences for even huge amounts are relatively light. In some countries even the death penalty is a possibility.
In
India the law is so crazy that there is a maximum sentence of 5 years for over 5 grams of ganja (herb) but a MINIMUM sentence of 10 years for over 5 grams of charas (resin).

Q:: What are the dangers of smoking cannabis?
A: Mixing it with tobacco.
Getting arrested.
Health hazards from impurities.
Being offered drugs.
Becoming a social outcast = persecution.
Conviction = criminal record, banned from USA, Australia etc.
All prohibition created problems.

Q: Is cannabis at all dangerous?
A: Of course, everything has some danger. You can drown in water, air starts fires, and you can choke on a sweet. Cannabis is about as dangerous as the same sized piece of wood. You could hit somebody with a large lump. However, cannabis was described, by DEA Administrator Judge Francis Young, as one of the safest of substances.

Q: Is decriminalisation a step in the right direction? A: No. Decriminalisation is simple turning a blind eye to small time users or growers. It simply avoids the real issues of control. Cannabis quality could not be tested. We want the weed to be free. We want it sold by reputable dealers with their profits taxed. We do not want limits on the amount possessed or amount of plants cultivated.

Q: What about synthetic cannabis?
A: Research is continuing to produce medicinal cannabis substances that do not give a high when consumed. Cannabis is a holistic plant - the whole plant is necessary. Synthetic 'drugs' such as Nabilone are considered virtually useless compared with natural cannabis and can have unpleasant side effects such as depression. Cannabis usually alleviates depression.

Q: In third world countries the poor and unemployed are seen sitting smoking cannabis, they never seem to get anything together and remain poor. Isn't this an effect of cannabis? That is, does the use of cannabis a-motivate?
A: No. The reverse is true. Because they are poor and unemployed they have time to sit and smoke. Cannabis grows wild in many of these countries. They smoke it because it helps them stay happy in their positions. In the same countries many working people smoke cannabis. You do not see them on the streets because they work and smoke at home. The same is true in
Britain.

It would take a million wise men to answer all the questions one fool can ask.